Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 1 Book of Thunder – Chapter 42 Once Again into a Dream
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 42 Once Again into a Dream
“Speaking of which, it’s almost break isn’t it?” Su Xiaoyun said as she ate her ice cream.
I paused. “Break? What break?”
“The long National Holiday break.” Su Xiaoyun knocked me on my head. “Did you lose your soul at some point in the last two days? How can you forget a long break like this?”
The National Holiday break… I cast my mind back a little before I remembered, today was already the 30th of September, so tomorrow would make it the 1st of October.
“Oh, you’re right.” I scratched my head, embarrassed. “I think the teacher mentioned something about the break during our class today, I just forgot.”
“Ignore him, he’s just forgetful like that.” Shi Yitong waved his hand, an expression on his face as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with me.
“Then what do you have planned for your break?” Su Xiaoyun asked.
“I’m going home to my grandma of course. Also, my parents will be back during the break.” Shi Yitong said matter of factly. “How about you?”
“My dorm mate invited me to Hangzhou for a quick holiday, and I agreed to go.” Su Xiaoyun smiled before turning to me. “Gu Yu, what about you?”
I hadn’t quite caught on to their conversation yet. “Eh? What?”
“The break! Do you seriously have nothing planned? It’s a seven day holiday!”
“Oh… I don’t have any plans.” I said slowly. “I will just be hanging around at school, I guess.”
“No way, are you for real? Aren’t you going home?” Su Xiaoyun seemed to be quite startled.
“Ah. Gu Yu… “ Shi Yitong suddenly spoke out in an attempt to help, “His family is too far away and it’s too much trouble to go back. Right, Gu Yu?”
“That’s not right. Aren’t you from Bei Ning, Gu Yu? It’s only a half day by train to get there.” Su Xiaoyun said seriously.
“Oh. That, um…” Shi Yitong was at a bit of a loss, scratching his head, still trying to help me come up with an excuse.
I was quite thankful to Shi Yitong for attempting to help, but he was a terrible liar and it really wasn’t that much of a deal. I didn’t think there was really much point in trying to keep it from my friend.
“I don’t want to go back,” I said quickly before Shi Yitong came up with anything else.
“You don’t want to?” Su Xiaoyun paused and then seemed to understand. “Are you…”
I nodded. “I’m not that close with my family. So instead of going back, it’s better if I find something to do around the school.”
“If that’s the case.” Su Xiaoyun nodded and didn’t ask anything else. “Then you’d better take good care of yourself at school!”
“I’m an adult okay? I know how to look after myself.”
“I’m not too certain about that. You boys aren’t that good at looking after yourselves.”
We spoke of nothing of importance all the way until the fork in the road where we would go our separate ways. Su Xiaoyun left first, but Shi Yitong remained, still looking at me with worry.
“Gu Yu, will you really be okay by yourself?”
I sighed helplessly. “Su Xiaoyun is one thing, but why are you also acting like this?”
“Man, it’s a special time for you right now that’s all. I’m a little worried.” Shi Yitong asked, cautiously. “How about you come and stay with me? My grandma would definitely welcome you.”
I shook my head immediately. “No need. Didn’t you say your mom and dad were coming home too? How could I interrupt your family reunion!? Don’t worry, I’m not a kid anymore.”
Shi Yitong nodded a bit stiffly then asked. “You… really aren’t going home?”
I shook my head. “If it was possible, I never want to go back to that place again,” I said in a low voice.
Shi Yitong didn’t say anything else but just patted my shoulder before he left. He and I were junior high school classmates, so he kind of knew about my family life. But even then, he probably would never truly understand the twisted relationship I had with my family.
I didn’t want to go back. Not only that, but as soon as I thought about it, my stomach started heaving.
At night, my dorm gradually emptied out. Some of my dorm mates went traveling, others went home. They left in groups and pairs and were all smiling. In the end, it was just me left, lying in bed, bored out of my mind. I played my game for a while and slowly fell asleep.
After Wang Zhong’s death, my sleep was always very light and I rarely dreamt. But I don’t know what happened that night as I once again fell into a strange dream.
I stood in the middle of a yard. The space wasn’t big and there was a thick-trunked willow tree in the middle. It was surrounded by what was clearly some funeral related items.
Wasn’t this… Shi Yitong’s yard?
Why would I be in the middle of his yard?
I wasn’t alone. There was another man standing beneath that large willow tree. His long shirt fluttered in the breeze, his gently curved eyes glinted underneath the moonlight.
If I wasn’t mistaken, that person was… Wen Jiubo.
I could hear him from a distance, words neither fast nor slow. “Before the end of the third day, the ‘zhen’ sign will appear. This so-called ‘zhen’ divinatory diagram is a very interesting one.”
I had heard this sentence from somewhere before, but at that moment, I couldn’t remember where or when.
I walked forth, near Wen Jiubo and frowned. “Wen Jiubo, didn’t I tell you I didn’t want to see you again? Why are you here?”
Wen Jiubo folded his arms, his right hand holding a paper fan, and smiled at me. “That’s not true at all. This is your dream, therefore what can and can’t appear, it’s all up to you.”
That’s right, wasn’t this my dream? Why did this guy appear in my dream?
Wen Jiubo smiled, lips curling. “Dost thou have something thou want to know?”
Me? Something I want to know?
Right… he was right. I did have something I wanted to know. I also knew instinctively that this was something only Wen Jiubo could tell me.
I fell silent, staring at Wen Jiubo’s shadow quietly. It was then that a sudden noise sounded in through the air and silver lightning bolts split the sky. Despite that though, there was only the rumble of thunder, but not a drop of rain fell.
“Amongst the eight divinatory trigrams of the Book of Changes, the North-East divinatory diagram is ‘zhen’ and ‘zhen’ is thunder. When this diagram is folded in on itself, dual thunder booms. This foreshadows a great change in one’s life.” Wen Jiubo tucked his hands into his sleeves, smiling. “A person who is represented by this diagram and rouses themselves to work hard can achieve glorious things. However, this is just superficial glory. Beneath that thin layer of brightness hides rotten flesh. If they’re not careful, they could be consigned to eternal damnation.”
“I don’t understand,” I said stiffly. “What great change, what glorious achievements? If you told me all of this at the start, then I could maybe admit that you were pointing out our meeting. But now, I’ve already given up, whatever supernatural things, whatever demons and spirits, I don’t care anymore! Besides, this was never my business in the first place, I’m going to go back to my normal life now!”